tv CBS Evening News With Russ Mitchell CBS December 5, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm EST
>> mitchell: tonight signs of a compromise, senate leaders talk about possible deal to extend all the bush era tax cuts as well as long term unemployment benefits. i'm russ mitchell. also tonight the man behind the leak. how could a low ranking u.s. soldier in iraq gain access to the hows of documents he's suspected of forwarding to wick which leaks. tough choices on the deficit. everyone wants to eliminate it but would you be willing to lose your mortgage interest deduction to do it? and portrait of a legend, intimate memories of john lennon just days before the 30th anniversary of his death captioning sponsored by cbs
this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell. >> mitchell: good evening, with less than four weeks to go before the bush era tax cuts expire, key senators are saying this evening that a deal is in the works that could extend the cuts for all income brackets. relief for the long-term unemployed may be part of the final package as well. john dickerson in washington has the latest. >> reporter: the fight overextending the bush era tax cuts continues. but the senate republican leader is already declaring victory. >> which think it's pretty clear now taxes are not going up on anybody in the middle of this recession. >> reporter: gop senators want to extend cuts for everyone. and they're emboldened after a series of votes on capitol hill yesterday. a democratic plan to keep the rates only for families making below $250,000 a year failed. a second proposal to extend them just for families with incomes below a million, that failed too. >> it's over. the senate voted yesterday. every republican and five democrats said we're not raising taxes on anybody. >> we don't need the money.
the country does. >> reporter: liberals have been begging president obama not to cave to gop demands. >> it is time to fight. please fight. >> reporter: but without an agreement by the end of the year, taxes would go up to where they were a decade ago for everyone. a single person making $50,000 could see his taxes rise by more than a thousand dollars. but the white house is worried about losing twice, the economy could buckle, and the president would get the share of the blame. still, the gop is not getting everything it wants. taxes will only be extended for a few years. and they expect to give on another democratic priority. >> i think that most folks believe that the recipe would include at least an extension of unemployment benefits for those who are unemployed. and an extension of all of the tax rates for all americans for some period of time. >> reporter: those unemployment benefits expire for 2 million people this month. >> the notion that we would give tax cuts to those making over a million
dollars a year which is the republican position, and then turn our backs on 2 million americans who will lose unemployment benefits before christmas is unconscionable. the president also wants special tax cuts to help low and middle income families. and he has other hopes for the lame duck congress. the new start treaty with russia, the dream act and the repeal of don't ask, don't tell are all on the agenda but none will see progress unless until there is a tax cut deal. the president will have to let republicans declare victory if he is going to have a shot of declaring his own. russ? >> mitchell: john dickerson in washington, thank you. >> turning now to the wick which leaks fallout. julian assange is reported this evening to be seeking asylum in switzerland, currently believed to be lying low in england. another key figure in the massive leak is already in the hands of u.s. officials. national security correspondent david martin has his story. >> reporter: julian a sank-- assange is at the eye
of the storm over the wick which leaks document but the person who made it possible is a 23-year-old army private named bradley manning. in an incriminal date-- incriminating text message last may manning claimed credit for possibly the latest-- largest pillage in american history. >> to this day i don't really know what motivated him to send that first fateful e-mail. >> reporter: adrian lamo aka the homeless hacker, because he moves from unfurnished apartment to unfurnished apartment is a cult figure on the internet. a computer genius who suffers from asperger's syndrome which affects his speech. manning reached out to him electronically from iraq where he was a low-level intelligence analyst. if you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day, seven days a week for 8 plus months, what would you do? at first lamo didn't take him seriously. but then -- >> the point at which pfc
manning disclosed to me that he had leaked several hundred thousand diplomatic cables was a point at which i began to believe that there was a certain degree of gravity to the situation. >> reporter: from his post southeast of baghdad this lowly private could kraed secret cables are from american em bazees around the world. >> probably this one person managed to pry loose more granular detail of individually classified documents than anybody else. >> reporter: tom blanton who runs the national security achieve of declassified government documents says all manning did was surf a classified network the way the rest of us surf the internet. >> i think probably what he did was something more like a google search where we entered some key words, some key terms and by entering those search terms he came cup with cables from all over the place. >> reporter: out came a quarter million documents, most of them having nothing to do with manning's job.
there are so many it's impossible for anyone human to read all quarter million, he wrote lamo. >> with the sense of importance, the sense of almost power, i think, was addicting to him. >> reporter: but being able to roam at will through state department cables is only half the story. manning was then able to download them on to a cd and send them off to wikileaks. >> i would come in with music on a cd labeled with as well like lady gaga he wrote to lamo. erase the music then write a compressed file containing the diplomatic documents. then he apparently took the cd him when he went home to boston on leave and passed it to wikileaks. no one suspected a anything, manning crowed, until lamo turned the text messages over to the army. >> which believed-- believed that his actions were en dang-- endangering lives. >> reporter: manning is now in custody while
investigators prepare charges that could send him to prison for life. david martin, cbs new, the pentagon. >> mitchell: our latest cbs news poll on issues facing the country finds an overwhelming 73% of americans believe the deficit problem is very serious. the job of actually cutting the deficit poses tough choice. tonight we consider two possible options. first up the home mortgage interest deduction which benefits some 75 million americans and averages more than $2,000 per year. bianca solorzano looks now at a proposal to drastically reduce it or perhaps get rid of it. >> reporter: the challenge, to cut the amount the u.s. treasury loses by subsidizing home ownership. one way to do that, reduce the mortgage interest tax deduction and replace it with a tax credit. ray garcia and his wifia shan are a-- yshan aware cutting it would hurt that i bottom line. >> we would be bummed because it is a good chunk 6 money. >> reporter: the new jersey couple monthly mortgage
payment is $3500 with more than half going to interest. now they're eligible for a $22,000 deduction. and their current tax bracket, that yields more than $6,000. >> it was always assumed in the back of my mind. >> reporter: but the national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform proposes to change the mortgage interest deduction that saves homeowners $80 billion a year in taxes. the commission would replace the deduction with a 12% mortgage interest credit for all homeowners. that is less than the average 17% credit homeowners currently claim and would increase federal revenue around $300 billion over ten years. for ray and yshan the change would reduce the tax savings on their home by $3500 a year. the choice, whether to modify the mortgage interest deduction at all. some advocate eliminating it entirely. >> if you bought a house and you could afford to pay your mortgage because of the deduction, you government
can't just get rid of it. that would put you in a pickle. >> reporter: which is why go if the government did phase out the deduction it would probably do so over 10 or 20 years. >> that would give the housing prices time to correct, time to adjust for the new reality. and if you did that, you could bring marginal tax rates down. >> reporter: the deficit commission also proposes limiting your mortgage interest deduction to one house and cutting the amount of mortgage eligible from one million to 500,000 dollars. that would wras another $41 billion over ten years can. until washington makes a tough choice. >> to live your life according to what is going on in washington, it's kind of crazy. >> reporter: it's life as usual for the garcia family. >> i make sure that i can pay my monthly mortgage regardless of the deduction. >> reporter: breaking in their new home. bianca solorzano, cbs news, ridgewood, new jersey. >> mitchell: and another tough choice on the deficit that is gaining traction in some circles is so-called value added tax or that for
short. it would work as a sort of national sales tax. seth doane lays it out. >> reporter: the challenge, to chip away at our soaring national debt fueled by a government that spends far more than it brings in. the national debt clock shows it is close to 13.8 trillion dollars and growing higher by the second. if every american shared a piece of that debt t would be more than 44,000 dollars each. >> so we have to either raise taxes on income or raise taxes on something else in order to finance the deficit. >> reporter: michael graetz a professor of law at columbia university supports a national sales tax similar to the type used in 150 countries. it is generally called a value added tax t is included in the cost of goods and services. >> with the countries that have value added taxes and lower income taxes will do better in terms of attracting investment and promoting jobs.
>> reporter: one choice is to consider adding a sort of federal vat on top of state sales taxes as a tool to fight debt. the debt reduction tax force at the bipartisan policy center has proposed a 6.5% tax. graetz says it should be much higher. he figures each percentage point of the tax could raise up to $70 billion. meaning a 14% vat could collect nearly a trillion dollars. but in britain where with the vat rate is due to go up from 17.5% to 20% in the new year, the tax is hardly a hit for christmas shoppers. >> it's not a good thing and affects every day life. >> reporter: london cab yee gary zylbersac who pays vat on everything from gas to his taxi rental has a warning for americans. >> look out. you're going to be paying a lot more for everything you buy. >> the idea of having a national sales tax comes up periodically and it always is shot down after people
realize just how unfair it is. >> reporter: arguing that a vat hits lower income earners harder because they are paying a bigger percentage of income for the same goods. exporting a vat to america would face an uphill political climb. but proponents point to something else that's climbing too. seth doane, cbs news, new york. >> mitchell: overseas israel said the biggest forest fire in its history is under control. with when from an american boeing 747 dropping water and retardants and even a group of palestinian firefighters. the fire has killed at least 41 people, two teenagers are suspected of starting it are under arrest. and coming can up on tonight's "cbs evening news", why the last holdouts are refusing to leave a notorious public housing project. and aleve was proven to work better on pain than tylenol 8 hour. so why am i still thinking about this? how are you? good, how are you? [ male announcer ] aleve. proven better on pain.
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elderly residents, even innocent children. in this image of people looking out at the world through steel fencing made cabrini seem more like a prison than a place to live. >> these kind of things kind of break your spirit down. >> reporter: tearing down cabrini is part of a $1.6 billion overhaul of public housing in chicago. >> it is called the plan for transformation and it's the most sweeping reform of its kind in this country's history. but it has plenty of critics who say the decision to demolish these high-rises is not eliminating the poverty. it's just dispersing it around the city. >> janet smith co-authored a report on the city's progress that found only 15% of displaced families are living in the new developments that replace cabrini green. >> we have to ask that question of what has happened to those families and who is this plan for transformation benefits when it is done. >> reporter: in all more than 26,000 families have been affected. the agency has relocated more than 12,000. 13,000 families are no longer in the system, and
cha admits it cannot find 2100 families who were displaced. long time resident kenneth hammonds says in order to move this week and feels left out of the process. >> we want to be a part of this new transformation that is coming up in our community. if it took place in our community, let us be a part of it. >> reporter: lewis jordan says building stronger communities is about more than bricks and mortar, it's about the future. >> we want kids to see what. >> i want kids to see hope. i want them to see opportunity. >> reporter: it's an opportunity former resident brenda lockett sees for her family, she to you lives in a renovated row house across the street. >> i believe that if i can live through cabrini green, i can live through anything. >> reporter: a transformation that often requires tough choices for the city and for the people that once called cabrini green home. cynthia bowers, cbs news, chicago. >> mitchell: much of the deep south is in a deep freeze this weekend. from raleigh, north carolina, to cross city, florida,
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>> mitchell: officials have closed the beaches the at egypt share mel chic resort after a shark killed a woman. two sharks suspected-of-malling four other tourists were also taught. after a year in iraq more soldiers in the national guard's tiger brigade are coming home just in time for the how many days. all 3,000s are expected back home over the next couple of weeks. we find facebook is announcing a facelift on its web site tonight. in an appearance on the cbs news broadcast 60 mins mark zuckerburg says the pages are being redesigned to be more reflected of real lives including more use of photos. president obama and the first lady hosted a white house reception for the five kennedy center honorees. ot bamas are attending the gala honoring merl haggard, harry her man. paul mccartny and oprah
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>> mitchell: finally this sunday, hard as it may be to believe, it will be 30 years ago this coming wednesday that a gunman took the life of john lennon. the former beatle lives on in the memories of his fans and in a series of remarkable photos as well. they still gather even on a cold sunday in december at strawberry field in central park to remember john lennon. >> the beatles, they were my favorite band. >> mitchell: the legendary band began performing half a century ago in england. ♪ i want to hold your hand. >> mitchell: and stormed american shores in 1964. >> this has since coming off the plane. >> harry benson accompanied them, john, paul, george and ringo to document that first american tour. he would spend the next ten years capturing intimate pictures of them. among the most iconic, a pillow fight in a paris hotel. >> it was taken the night they were told we are weigh number one in america.
>> mitchell: lennon kicked it off by whacking his song writing partner paul mccartney. >> john lennon said we are going to look childest. paul is having a drink and john comes up behind him and bangs him in the back with a pillow. >> mitchell: the pictures catch the closeness and the competition between lennon and mccartney. >> john and i, you have to say t was very special. i mean it really was too kids coming together who loved music and who knew what they wanted to do but didn't know how to do it. >> mitchell: the competition lead to the bitter breakup of the beatles in 1970 but years later, mccartney remembered the closeness. >> we kind of taught each other. and we, you know, we learned at the same time. so we climbed the same ladder. we did have some kind of magic. >> mitchell: lennon's son julian hardly knew him. he left he and his mother for a new qif, yoko ono and a new life in new york. >> felt so up set by the way that he treated not just me
but more so mum. >> mitchell: and he's learning to make peace with his father's memory. >> i forgive him. i appreciate everything that he and the beatles have-- have-- have given everyone. >> mitchell: harry benson says he remembers his friend with respect and admiration. did you like john lennon. >> oh, absolutely, absolutely. i can honestly say that. that john was a kind man. >> mitchell: and that is the "cbs evening news." later on cbs, 60 minutes. thanks for joining us this sunday evening. i'm russ mitchell, cbs news in new york. harry smith will be here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org